Retired Sep. 1, 1971. Died Dec. 31, 1996.
Major General Winston Peabody Wilson was born in Arkadelphia, Ark., in 1911, but grew up in Little Rock where he has maintained his legal residence.
His military career began in May 1929, when he enlisted as an airplane mechanic in the 154th Observation Squadron, Arkansas National Guard. He attended Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. The general received his pilot's license in 1936, and his commercial pilot's license in 1940.
General Wilson was commissioned a second lieutenant and rated as a junior aircraft observer in July 1940, following a nine-month Cadet Observer Training Course. He was promoted to first lieutenant, Air Corps, on Sept. 21, 1941, one year after going on active duty with the 154th Squadron.
After Pearl Harbor, the 154th Squadron was moved from Fort Sill Okla., to Eglin Field, Fla., where General Wilson flew as an aircraft observer on anti-submarine patrols until February 1942.
In September 1942, General Wilson was selected by the Air Support Branch for assignment to Headquarters Army Air Corps in Washington, was rated as a service pilot in May 1943, and in July 1943, was made chief, Tactical Reconnaissance Branch, Headquarters Army Air Forces, receiving promotion to major Aug. 11, 1943.
In October 1944, he served as commanding officer of the 16th Photo Squadron for photographic mapping and charting missions in South America, Alaska and the continental United States. General Wilson went to the Pacific in 1945 as liaison officer for Far East Air Forces, and in August 1945, General Wilson was appointed assistant air photo officer, Headquarters Far East Air Forces, in the Philippines. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in November 1945. On Jan. 1, 1946, General Wilson was made chief, Reconnaissance Unit, A-3, PACOUSA with split headquarters in Tokyo and in Manila.
Separated from active duty in July 1946, General Wilson immediately rejoined the Arkansas Air National Guard and served both with the 154th Fighter Squadron and as air operations and training staff officer for the Arkansas National Guard.
General Wilson was ordered to active duty with the National Guard Bureau Sept. 25, 1950; was promoted to colonel May 7, 1951 and became acting chief, Air Force Division, National Guard Bureau July 1, 1953. On Jan. 26, 1954, he was named chief, Air Force Division, National Guard Bureau. His federal recognition as a brigadier general became effective Jan. 21, 1954, and his appointment as a brigadier general in the reserve of the Air Force was confirmed by the U.S. Senate March 1, 1954. His promotion to major general, Arkansas Air National Guard and federal recognition in that grade became effective May 3, 1955. Confirmation of his appointment as a major general in the reserve of the Air Force was announced by the Department of the Air Force June 20, 1955, and he was named deputy chief, National Guard Bureau, May 5, 1955.
General Wilson, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to be chief, National Guard Bureau, for a four-year term, was sworn into office Sept. 4, 1963. On Sept. 1, 1967, he was reappointed by the president for an additional four-year term.
General Wilson has more than 7,500 hours military flying time and is rated as a command pilot. His combat and service awards include the Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit; American Defense Service Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Army of Occupation Medal (Japan); National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon; Distinguished Service Medal, National Guard Association of the United States; Citation of Honor of Air Force Association; Oklahoma Distinguished Service Medal; North Carolina Distinguished Service Medal; and Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal.